2023: Security forces suffer highest casualties in 8 years

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s security forces have experienced their highest casualties in eight years, with at least 386 personnel losing their lives in the first nine months of 2023, according to a report released by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS).

The report, covering the third quarter of 2023, also reveals a troubling 57% surge in violence nationwide.

In the CRSS Security Report for Q3 2023, it is highlighted that among the 1,087 violence-related fatalities recorded this year, security forces accounted for 36% of the casualties, marking an eight-year high. This figure includes 137 army personnel and 208 police personnel.

The rise in violence is particularly concentrated in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Balochistan. Over the past five years, these regions have witnessed a consistent and alarming increase in violence, with 92% of all fatalities occurring in these two provinces in the first nine months of 2023, compared to 72% in 2019.

In the third quarter of 2023 alone, 445 lives were lost, and 440 people were injured in 190 terror attacks and counter-terror operations. K-P and Balochistan bore the brunt of this violence, accounting for nearly 94% of all fatalities and 89% of recorded attacks during this period.

 

The report also highlights a 57% surge in violence during Q3 2023, with fatalities increasing from 284 in Q2 to 445. Balochistan recorded a staggering 131% increase in violence, while K-P saw a 28% rise. Conversely, Punjab reported a substantial 67% decrease in violence, while Sindh witnessed a 283% rise in incidents, though the number of fatalities in Sindh remained relatively low.

The majority of casualties in Q3 2023 resulted from terrorism, with 141 terrorist attacks causing 318 fatalities and 381 injuries to civilians and security personnel. However, security operations lagged significantly, with only 49 operations conducted, resulting in 127 outlaws killed and 59 injured.

Civilians were the hardest-hit group during this quarter, accounting for nearly 58% of all casualties, followed by security personnel at nearly 23%. The outlaws constituted only about 20% of all casualties during this period.

According to the report, the first nine months of 2023 have revealed alarming trends in the security forces’ losses, with fatalities reaching an eight-year high, exceeding levels seen in 2016 and reaching the highest point since 2015.

Percentage of security forces’ fatalities among all victims of violence this year has also hit an 11-year high, standing at nearly 36%. Furthermore, the data since 2021 indicates a consistent rise in security forces’ fatalities, raising concerns about the ongoing security challenges facing the nation.

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